Malevolent – UK, 2018 – reviews

Malevolent is a 2018 British horror feature film directed by Olaf de Fleur Johannesson (producer of ‘Undying Love’ segment in Patient Seven) from a screenplay by Ben Ketai (The Strangers: Prey at Night; Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word; 30 Days of Night: Dark Days), based on the novel Hush by Eva Konstantopoulos. The movie stars Florence Pugh, Celia Imrie and Ben Lloyd-Hughes.

Plot:

Siblings Jackson (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) and Angela (Florence Pugh) run a profitable ghost-busting racket; swindling the bereaved with fake detection equipment and Angela’s paranormal ‘visions’. Hired to investigate a haunted old foster home, the duo uncover its terrifying past: young girls brutally slaughtered, mouths stitched shut; silenced by a sadistic killer.

Soon, Angela’s on the edge – sleepless, strung out and losing her mind, no longer certain what’s actually real; convinced she hears the girls crying out to her from the darkness. However, supernatural terrors are the least of their problems when they discover the very real evil lurking in the isolated house…

Reviews:

“It’s kind of taken a well worn premise but adds a bit of heart to it, thanks to the very good performances, and atmosphere. Malevolent has a very subtle sense of terror behind it, and while it does rely on jump scares every now and then, what keeps the film consistently creepy are the quieter moments…” Felix Vasquez, Cinema Crazed

“There are a lot of good ingredients in Malevolent, from its concept to its cast. And the final 25 minutes are incredibly tense and scary. But the rest of the movie can’t really hold its momentum. Angela and Jackson have this deep family trauma that ultimately doesn’t come to all that much.” Joe Reid, Decider

Malevolent gets out of the gate preposterously strong, rides the wave of its own creativity for as long as it possibly can, and then finally falls over at the end, exhausted and spent. It’s an admirable, at times truly scary effort… but an effort is really all that it can offer.” Alec Bojalad, Den of Geek!

“If you like stories featuring ghosts and want a movie that relies on a good story rather than CGI effects, then Malevolent is an excellent choice!” Karina Adelgaard, Heaven of Horror

Malevolent isn’t scary, thrilling or any adjective one would use to describe a film of this ilk. The interesting bits found in the plot, including its predictable twist, are weighed down by stiff acting, weak horror elements and lackluster ‘monsters’.” Kenneth Seward Jr., IGN

“Johannesson’s inability to wring any terror or suspense from the material certainly exacerbates the pervasively underwhelming vibe, while the film’s interminable third act, which emphasizes the tiresome activities of human villains, ensures that the whole thing peters out to an exceedingly palpable extent.” David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

” …there’s something more going on in Malevolent than most other straight-to-video horror flicks that play with the same themes. It’s not going to be anyone’s favorite new horror film this holiday season, but it’s a solid enough start to the month when temperatures drop and it becomes cooler to tell ghost stories.” Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

Cast and characters:

  • Florence Pugh … Angela
  • Ben Lloyd-Hughes Ben Lloyd-Hughes … Jackson
  • Scott Chambers … Elliot
  • Georgina Bevan … Beth
  • Stephen McCole … Frank
  • Daisy Mathewson … Susie
  • Charlotte Allen … Maddy
  • Nicola Grier … Christine
  • Celia Imrie … Mrs. Green
  • Shelley Conn … Professor Samantha Harlow
  • Daniel Campbell … Bloody Student
  • James Cosmo … Grandpa – A Hole in the Ground; Dark Signal; Estranged; CitadelHammer House of Horror TV series; The Stone TapeDoomwatchAssault
  • William Leslie … Craig’s Henchman
  • Ian Lorimer Milne … Craig (as Ian Milne)
  • Charles Barrett … Victor
  • Emma Atkin … Claire
  • Flora Brady … Missy
  • Anna Coote … Tammy
  • Niall Greig Fulton … Herman
  • Kathryn Howden … Nurse

Filming locations:

Scotland

Technical credits:

89 minutes | 2.35:1 aspect ratio

Release:

Malevolent debuted on Netflix on October 5, 2018.

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